The pandemic isolation eats away at the heart. Fortunately, as Christians, we have the gift of Faith and the very real people of the scriptures who model for us living in any circumstances. The Advent story is our story and the ‘characters’ are our people speaking to us through God’s Word. Unfortunately, in our times of fear and isolation, dangerous risks masked as ‘good’ tempt us from this especially by the media. Aroused in our passions of anger or fear, this often creates a false sense of security and inclusion with others. Some urge us to rage with them. Others to escape into visionaries and claims of supernatural protection. Either becomes a type of refuge.
Having the right opinion doesn’t get us into Heaven; having the right disposition does. Are we ready to ‘take the risk’ of following Jesus 100% and let go of these attachments?
The rapid rise in Internet genealogy websites shows we are people seeking a past; a foundation in which to be grounded. Evil forces in our society are attempting to destroy our American and our Catholic heritage. Two generations of American Catholics have been raised without pride in, patriotism for or loyalty to either. With no past to guide the future, we are left to a very one-dimensional present existence.
This Advent embrace who you are. Live differently.
“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated.” (Venerable Fulton J. Sheen)
Consider this: if all the time Christians have spent arguing over politics were instead used to convert people to Jesus, where might our country be today? Regardless of the results Tuesday November 3, it is never too late to start.
Our upcoming elections have caused the greatest turmoil in our country in decades. We have become a society for whom interpersonal relations center in taking part in riots (or cheering from the sidelines). No longer valuing our beauty and identity as human persons caused by the legalization of abortion, people have become disposable. Relationships are disposable. The void is filled with ideologies to numb the hidden pain. We have transitioned from an ideal of self-preservation to one of self-gratification.
Within that context we have the upcoming elections. These have caused great angst for many people, grasping for answers, seeking to control in an out-of-control world. Change will happen, but first it must happen within us.
For other nations, the year 2020 may be remembered by the pandemic. For America, it will be remembered as one of the greatest wars we have fought for our soul and sovereignty. The many battlefields are both in front of our very eyes as well as within our very hearts, seen with the eyes of the soul. It is a war fought in the fields of perception, memory, imagination, pride, words.
Within the American church, we seem to be caught up in a game of spiritual whack-a-mole. In the arcade game, the player bludgeons each mole with a sledgehammer as he pops up his head from the ground. The more moles hit, the more moles surface and at an increasing rate of speed.
In the spiritual life, what doesn’t happen is as important to notice as that which does take place. Silence is its own type of ‘whack’ and perhaps a more deadly one. Let us follow the example of St. John Paul II in a transformation of conscience. As he told the Polish people: look around you. You are not alone.